Around 9,000 Kurdish supporters demonstrated in the German city of Frankfurt against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and an April referendum that would give him sweeping new powers. “We don’t need any Erdogan, we don’t need him. His people are going to say ‘yes and we need a ‘no,no,no’. I am against Erdogan. That’s it. He is a dictator”, said another demonstrator who didn’t want to give his name.Several hundred police officers were deployed at the demonstration, which police said was peaceful. On Wednesday the German government approved voting by the estimated 1.4 million Turks living in Germany who are eligible to cast ballots in the April 16 referendum.Erdogan is seeking support among Turks abroad for the referendum. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has said Erdogan is taking advantage of a sentiment many people of Turkish origin have in Germany that they are neither accepted nor welcomed. Relations between Ankara and Berlin have been burdened by the arrest of a Turkish-German journalist in Turkey and by Erdogan’s description of bans on planned rallies by Turkish ministers as “fascist”.
The SDF on Sunday announced the start of operations to deny IS its so-called caliphate by liberating the northern Syrian town, while Iraqi forces simultaneously continue their advance on Mosul. SDF spokesman Talal Sello claimed on Sunday it had brokered a deal with Washington “that there will be no role for Turkey or the armed factions allied with it in the operation” to capture Raqqa. However later on Sunday, US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Joe Dunford, met with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar, and confirmed the NATO allies “will work together on the long-term plan for seizing, holding and governing Raqqa”. He added that Raqqa’s capture could not go ahead “without incorporating the Turks and their perspective into our plans”. “Obviously as a close ally, we really just want to make sure that we’re completely tight as we work through some challenging issues,” he said.